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The best league in the world

With most major top clubs and leagues in financial turmoil and some secretly drifting towards bankruptcy, where does the world turn to for a "model" example to avoid a possible end to football as we know it today?

Seven German teams qualified for the joint European continental competitions at the beginning of the season. Seven of them qualified to the knockout stages.

As the European Champions League gradually winds down into the "golden goose" stage (the quarterfinals) with England, for example, at dire risk of not having one club in the quarterfinals, the Germans are looking very likely of having all three initial teams reach the quarterfinals.

Spanish, English and major European clubs are 'sick' and in the 'red' financially. In fact, every one of them but the Germans have never been healthier.

In 2010 Manchester United's debt, after their purchase by the Glazers, was more than that of the 36 clubs combined, who in turn were the same as the first two flights of the German league.

Every weekend the stadiums are full with spectators. The 'Signal Iduna Stadium', home to Borussia Dortmund, averages 76 000 fans every league and Champions League game and merchandising is at its utmost best.

The quality of football in the Bundesliga is, in my opinion, among the best in the world, if not the best as a whole. It might not be the most spectacular (that title goes to the English Premier League), it might not be the most technical (that goes to the Spanish La Liga), it might not be the most controversial (that title goes to the Italians) but it is sure the most physically demanding, complete, entertaining and 'futuristic' team there is.

The question is: when will they overtake the other leagues in the world if they have not done that already? Bayern Munich and Dortmund Fans will tell you it is done and dusted.

Taking note of the ease with which Bayern Munich dispatched Arsenal recently (in London) during their Champions League first-leg round of 16 match; or the easy domination and near humiliation that Borussia Dortmund dealt out to Real Madrid, Manchester City, Ajax Amsterdam Shaktar Donetsk, one can only agree that they do have a huge claim to righteousness.

Dortmund are yet to lose a game in eight outings (in the Champions League), winning six and drawing two. The two draws came from late equalisers in the very last minutes of these encounters. In other words they dominate their opponents away from base too. Impressive.

The organisation of the German league is second to none. For example, when you buy a ticket to a game, it guarantees you train transportation to and from the stadium in Germany. The entrance and exits to the games are so well mapped out that the stadiums fill and empty in record time, guaranteeing safety and security.

Financially, a club that does not have the financial guarantee to finish a season, is not allowed to exist and is either sent down by relegation to a lower league or even lower. Allemania Aachen, a second-division team in Germany, are now sure of playing in the fourth league next season or even lower, due to financial problems.

Heavy investment and quality supervision is given to the youth sector and the end result? New, quality, home-grown players are produced year in and year out. Germany is one of the few nations in the world where the best players of their national teams play in the local league.

The only negative point one can note is the lack of continental and worldwide silverware in recent years.

As successful as the Germans may seem, the national team is yet to win a title in 17 years. Their last title was the 1996 European Championships in England.

The last time the Germans won the Champions League was 12 years ago in 2001 and was won by Bayern Munich. That could be the sole argument why they are not unanimously the world No 1 yet!

However, they compensate for that by having reached the World Cup finals in 2002 and also the last two World Cup semifinals (2006 and 2010), the European Championship finals in 2008 and semifinals in 2012 and having, every year, several clubs in the Champions League end stages. Hence there is a guarantee of hard currency coming into the country and football system.

All in all, what makes a league the best? I believe it must possess all the factors that the German Bundesliga has.


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